Brussels City of Stories
Along with Muntpunt, the Brussels Book Fair and Le 140, the international house of literature Passa Porta is part of ‘Brussels City of Stories’, a multifaceted project that aims to inhabit the territory of Brussels in a poetic way by filling the city with the stories of the people who live here. The challenge? Brussels, with its 180 nationalities and almost a hundred languages, is full of stories that are just waiting to be told!
This diversity is an incredible source of encounters.
Words, poems, texts, performances, but also images and sounds, are all ways for citizens to share their experiences and their visions of the world.
The project is participatory and aims to give a voice to the people of Brussels, regardless of their language, age, culture or social background. To bring their experiences together so that they resonate in the city through those who hear them, tell them and live them. Filling the city with stories!
First edition: March–July 2021
The first edition of Brussels City of Stories – an initiative of seven Brussels operators: Passa Porta, Muntpunt, Bozar, the Brussels Book Fair, Picture Festival, Le 140 and Ville des mots – took place in the spring of 2021. Events were organized to fill the city with words and stories: 70 organizations came together to organize 35 events in 7 different languages across 15 Brussels municipalities. At the opening of the Passa Porta Festival in March 2021, Passa Porta gave the people of Brussels the chance to have stories delivered to their homes or to a person of their choice. And last summer, Passa Porta sent story collectors Yelena Schmitz, Arno Boey, Milady Renoir, Oscar Briou and Christine Aventin to several Brussels terraces to collect the best, the craziest, the strangest stories before having them performed by actors on the terraces of De Monk, Millefeuille, New Plasky, Flamingo and Muntpunt Grand Café.
Second edition: Brussels City of Stories: Connections – March–July 2022
For this second edition, Brussels City of Stories will turn the spotlight on stories of encounters and interactions in and around public transport. Like stories, public transport connects places and people. Together with train stations, roads and other stops, transport facilities are places where thousands of people and therefore stories come together.
Sometimes, during a journey or while waiting for the bus or train, these stories intersect for the duration of an encounter. Some of these interactions can leave an impression on us, whether a positive one or not. They become stories we tell to make ourselves laugh, to bring to light a certain aspect of reality or an inequality in society, to make us think.
More than ever, public transport facilities are playing an increasingly important role in building our sense of community but also in the transition challenge. It is these encounters that this new edition will draw attention to. By making them visible in the public space, the aim is to confront travellers and commuters with the stories of other citizens and their experiences of the city. And what better way than through culture and the arts to capture all this movement?
Third edition: Brussels City of Letters
It's time to launch our third edition! Led by the trio Passa Porta, Muntpunt and Le 140, this year Brussels City of Stories 2023 is calling on the writers of Brussels.
We have assembled 50 pairs of pen pals of all ages, cultures and languages, including 7 Belgian authors. The pairs will exchange some letters, discussing various themes.
5 participating classes will receive a writing workshop led by an author.
With the authors' permission, fragments of these letters will be selected for an exhibition at Muntpunt and in public spaces, where the participants will meet.
The Brussels City of Letters project aspires to celebrate the linguistic and cultural diversity of Brussels, strengthen the connection between citizens, promote encounters between city dwellers and nurture the literary genre of the letter.